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Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-up October 9-15, 2022



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Every Sunday Larry Nutson, The Chicago Car Guy and Auto Channel Executive Producer, with able assistance from senior editor Thom Cannell from The Auto Channel Michigan Bureau, compile The Auto Channel's "take" on this past week's automotive news, condensed into easy to digest news Nuggets.

LEARN MORE: Complete versions of today's news nuggets, along with thousands of pages of relevant news and opinions, information stored in a million-page library published and indexed on The Auto Channel during the past 25 years. Complete information can be found by copying a headline and inserting it into any Site Search Box.

Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-up - Week Ending October 22, 2022

Here are Larry's picks among the past week's important, relevant, semi-secret, or snappy automotive news, opinions and insider back stories presented as expertly crafted easy-to-understand automotive universe news nuggets.

* Sales of electrified vehicles hit a record in Q3 2022, as one of the hottest segments in the U.S. automotive market continues to make waves throughout the industry, according to Kelley Blue Book, a Cox Automotive company. More than 200,000 electrified vehicles were sold in the three-month span of Q3 – a first – with the segment far outpacing the rest of the industry in terms of sales volumes and share growth. The high cost of electrified vehicles does not appear to deter car shoppers. While electrified vehicle prices declined slightly (1.8%) month over month from August to September 2022, EV prices were up 9.7% in September 2022 compared to a year ago in September 2021. The average new EV price last month was $65,291, according to Kelley Blue Book, which is well above the industry average and aligns more with luxury versus mainstream prices. Despite the high price tags for EVs, consumer interest is not showing any signs of slowing.

* The U.S. Department of Energy announced $2.8 billion in funding across 12 states for domestic production of electric vehicle batteries. The states with projects, which focus on battery mineral processing or component manufacturing, receiving funding include Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee and Washington. Most of the projects are in southeastern states, an area of predominantly foreign-owned, nonunionized automakers that is becoming known as the "Battery Belt."

* MotorTrend announced the Hyundai IONIQ 5 as the winner of its “Golden Calipers” for SUV of the Year. Hyundai Ioniq 5 is the First EV to Win MotorTrend’s SUV of the Year Award. The Hyundai IONIQ 5 was judged the winner from a diverse field of 45 total all-new or significantly redesigned SUVs judged on six key criteria: safety, efficiency, value, advancement in design, engineering excellence, and performance of intended function. The majority of contenders vying for the MotorTrend SUV of the Year were electrified, with hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or full battery-electric power.

* NHTSA reported 11 fatal crashes involving vehicles that were using assisted-driving systems in the June-September time frame. Ten of the deaths involved vehicles made by Tesla. Four of the deaths involved motorcycles. Safety advocates note that the deaths of motorcyclists in crashes involving Tesla vehicles using automated driver-assist systems have been increasing. Experts from the Center for Auto Safety fault NHTSA for continuing to investigate the pattern with Tesla vehicles and not taking action since problems with Autopilot began appearing 6 years ago in 2016. Tesla crashes have resultant deaths of people not in the Tesla vehicle.

* U.S.DoE factoid of the week: An analysis of Chicago-area ride hailing data shows, not surprisingly, that Lyft and Uber are for wealthy people. Those in census tracts with higher-income households and fewer household vehicles more commonly used Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft. Chicago-area census tracts were classified by average annual household income and average number of vehicles owned. In census tracts with household income less than $35,000, nearly all had an average of less than 100 annual TNC trips per capita. In census tracts with household income between $35,000 and $75,000, nearly all had an average of less than 200 annual TNC trips per capita. In census tracts with household income over $75,000, there was great variation in the average number of TNC trips, with one tract averaging 1,025 annual trips per capita.

* Honda is providing more than $2 million in financial support for 25 organizations across the United States that are focused on teen driver safety. The grants support a wide variety of initiatives aimed at young drivers in the areas of education, training and resources that supplement or go beyond traditional driver's training courses or mandated state driver's programs. With nearly one-third of annual traffic fatalities in the U.S. involving drivers under the age of 25, Honda invited organizations to propose ideas to improve teen safety during National Teen Driver Safety Week in October 2021. Ultimately, Honda selected 25 organizations that are working to advance driver education and safety awareness in their communities supported by the funding from Honda. The company is now accepting new grant applications through October 31, 2022, at https://csr.honda.com/community/honda-giving/ for funding in 2023.

* In Paris on the eve of the Paris motor show via a global webinar, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the battery-electric 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV. Driving range is expected to be around 300 miles. This is now the fifth fully-electric vehicle from Mercedes. The EQE will be the second made-in-America Mercedes electric crossover. It goes on sale in spirng next year. In Fall the 2024 Mercedes-AMG EQE SUV will be introduced.

* The biennial Mondial de l’Automobile, the Paris Motor Show, is back for the first time since 2018. Opening this week there were several new models making their debut. Major Renault Group news with the introduction of three new Renault models, a concept car from Alpine, several new Mobilize vehicles and the latest from Dacia’s brand ?transformation’ all made for news. There was also news from Stellantis, with Jeep debuting the Avenger fully-electric small utility. The Paris Motor Show was the world’s first motor show when it was launched back in 1898.

* Cadillac shared news on its CELESTIQ handcrafted, all-electric, ultra-luxury flagship that is aimed at reestablishing the iconic brand as the Standard of the World. Each CELESTIQ is personally commissioned — no two will be alike. “With an extremely low volume (about 500 per year) of hand-built vehicles to be offered globally each year and an exclusive declaration process, CELESTIQ will truly be a custom-commissioned one-of-one,” said Global Vice President of Cadillac Rory Harvey. Every CELESTIQ will be constructed at the General Motors Global Technical Center, in Warren, Michigan. CELESTIQ is expected to go into production in December 2023, with an expected MSRP to begin north of $300,000 and increase based on level of personalization. CELESTIQ availability by waitlist only. Visit http://www.cadillac.com for more information. BTW, China is Cadillac's largest volume sales market.

* GMC revealed its fully-electric, battery-powered 2024 Sierra EV pickup. A Seirra EV Denali Edition 1 will be first avaialble in in early 2024 at a price of $107,000. Driving range is up to 400 miles per charge and it can add up to 100 miles in 10 minutes. Towing ability allows for a 9,500-pound trailer. An off-road Sierra EV AT4 will come in 2025 as well as other models with pricing to start at around $50,000.

* Alfa Romeo has launched an in-house heritage department offering certification services as well as repairs and full restorations. Alfa Romeo Classiche is being formally launched during the 2022 Auto e Moto d’Epoca classic car meet running in Padua, Italy, from Oct. 20-23. A Certificate of Authenticity service provides expert inspection of a car and verification of the authenticity of the car and its components. This can either be done in Turin, Italy, or at the owner’s home. A Certificate of Origin service certifies the car’s year of production and original factory specification.

* Team Penske has a shot at two major championships this year. Last month Will Power won his second IndyCar Championship title. And now in NASCAR, Joey Logano became the first driver to qualify for the title-deciding finale with his recent win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. There are three more races in this round of NASCAR's playoffs. Four drivers will compete for the title in Phoenix next month.

* Subaru Motorsports USA driver Brandon Semenuk and co-driver Keaton Williams clinched their first-ever American Rally Association (ARA) driver’s and co-driver’s championships ahead of Hoonigan Racing Division rivals Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino with a victory at Lake Superior Performance Rally (LSPR), the final round of the 2022 ARA National Championship calendar. Subaru teammates and 2021 champions Travis Pastrana and Rhianon Gelsomino finished second on the rally and third overall in the title race.

* Renowned National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) professional drag racer, Tom “Showtime” Hoover, passed away at the age of 81. Hoover was a cornerstone of the NHRA, IHRA and AHRA professional drag racing community for almost four decades, having built a 35-year career of competitive racing achievements. Hoover was one of the first five funny car drivers in drag racing to break the 6 second quarter mile, 5 second quarter mile and 4 second quarter mile and is the only driver to be among the first to break all three milestones over three decades while racing in funny car. In 1965, Hoover’s first “major” victory came at the American Hot Rod Association (AHRA) Winter Nationals in Phoenix Arizona. At just 24 years old, he was the youngest driver to ever win such a major event.

Stay safe. Be Well.